The GM Parts XPerts Pro Late Model Series returned to the Five Flags Speedway this past Wednesday night for race number two of the Summer Season for a 125-lap feature event.
Before the lights came on for the feature, Ty Majeski claimed the pole just slightly over Tom Wetmore. A nine-car invert for the Dash and the feature, however, would send Bill Martin to the front of the field. Martin would lead the 10-car field for the Qualifying Dash, and would hold off Joe Schaffer Jr. for the Dash win for the extra bonus points.
Martin would now lead the 28-car full field to the green for the main event, but the race would go under a quick lap 1 yellow flag. On the next restart, Martin led the field to green, but was quickly challenged by Joe Schaffer Jr. Schaffer would make his move around Martin on lap 10 for the race lead. Schaffer would lead the field through the next caution for a problem on track on lap 21, but this caution would have to be extended to a 13-lap yellow flag period to due a server issue out of the drivers’ control.
Once the issues cleared up, the race finally restarted on lap 37 with Schaffer still out front, with Matt Rolfe, Bill Martin, Ty Majeski and Tom Wetmore making up the top five. The field continued with some short green flag runs through the early portions of the race, with Schaffer holding down the top spot, but a tight field throughout the top 15 was battling hard to break through to try to challenge him.
Schaffer would be overtaken for the race lead on lap 71 by Tom Wetmore, but that would only be the beginning of Schaffer’s problems. After a quick yellow, Wetmore led the field back to green at lap 79, with Ty Majeski in 2nd, Schaffer back in 3rd, David Krikorian in 4th and Matt Rolfe rounding out the top five.
Schaffer was battling with Krikorian shortly after this restart, but on the front stretch the two got together and started spinning towards the inside wall on the narrow front stretch into turn one. This caused calamity behind the leaders of Wetmore and Majeski. As the third and fourth place cars tangled, Ty Spearman snuck by the ensuing giant wreck in the outside lane, but no one else from inside the top 14 would be as lucky. The wreck seemingly blocked the end of front stretch, and took out the majority of the contenders inside the top 15. Hunter Combs was the first car not named Majeski, Wetmore or Spearman to dodge the crash, and he was scored in 15th at the line just prior to the big accident.
The 11-car wreck involved Joe Schaffer, David Krikorian, Matt Rolfe, Bill Martin, Tyler Hudson, Darrell Hamlin, Ian Layne, Kevin J Myers, Matthew Eddy, Jason Williams, and Scott Dunlap. All 11 of these cars were scored inside the top 15 just seconds before at the start/finish line on the previous lap. Unlike some incidents, most of these cars did not continue or were heavily damaged in the incident.
After the melee, Wetmore remained the leader, with Majeski and Spearman unharmed from the crash. Myers lined up in fourth, with Combs being the first clean car in fifth for the lap 87 restart. This also put a lot of new faces inside the top 10 as well. Wetmore would continue to lead Majeski after the restart, but could not put any gap on the 91 car. Wetmore’s car started to fall off, and this allowed Majeski to get a run and by him into turn 1 on lap 100, with Spearman in hot pursuit. Spearman moved into second around Wetmore just five laps later.
Once Majeski got out front, the race would run green to the finish as he would lead the final 26 laps on his way to victory. Majeski would come around to take the checkered flag for his 66th career win in SARA competition with a 1.3 second margin over Ty Spearman.
Inside the top five, Ty Spearman came home in second, despite being on the outside line for the lap 79 restart, it turned out to be a blessing as he just inched by the big crash. Tom Wetmore lead 28 laps but seemed to struggle with the handling once the lap counter reached 100 and faded back from the top two for a 3rd place finish. Hunter Combs dodged the big wreck with some quick moves, and after running outside the top ten for most of the night wound up 4th. James Linkiewicz was involved in an accident right before the big crash, and then had to restart in the 16th position on the race’s final restart before driving to the 5th position.
Sixth place on the night went to Tyler Howell, who started in the top ten, but slipped back early outside the top 20, but like others around him missed the crash and finished in 6th. Kevin Myers was the highest finishing car with damage from the big wreck and finished in 7th. Scott Bell and Devan Rittall both only ran as high as 16th in the running order early on and came home in 8th and 9th respectively. Mark Royer rounded out the top ten after moving into the 10th position with just 3 laps to go.
After two events on the season, James Linkiewicz leads the standings by just 4 points over Combs in 2nd. Next week, the GM Parts Xperts Late Model Series will visit the Martinsville Speedway for a 100-lap afternoon race.